Russell Wheeler, 49, of Los Lunas, appeared in federal court Aug. 3 for a detention hearing, charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition. Wheeler will remain in custody pending trial.
According to the arrest warrant affidavit for Wheeler, on May 22 he allegedly shot a man in the face on the street outside a home on Lake View Drive. The man was taken to a local urgent care by an unknown person and eventually transported to The University of New Mexico Hospital by ambulance, according to the affidavit.
A witness at the home on Lake View told officers he was outside working on his vehicle when he heard someone say, “Don’t walk up on me!” When the witness walked toward his gate, he saw Wheeler pointing a small black revolver at another man, then shoot him.
Wheeler fled on a motorcycle, according to the witness. When the victim was interviewed at the hospital by Valencia County sheriff’s detective, it appeared numerous teeth were missing and the jaw bone was shattered. The victim said he didn’t know the man who shot him.
According to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice, Wheeler was convicted of possession of a controlled substance in 2005 and aggravated fleeing from law enforcement in 2007, both felonies. As a previously convicted felon, Wheeler cannot legally possess firearms or ammunition.
If convicted, Wheeler faces up to 10 years in prison.